The Right to Dignity – Woman Stripped Naked By Male Deputies
On February 1, 2014, we reported the case of Charda Gregory. That case occurred in Warren, Michigan in November, 2013. In that case, video from the jail shows that Charda was placed in a restraining chair that held down her arms, and police Officer Bernadette Najor proceeded to cut and pull on Charda’s weave that had been sewn into her natural hair, pulling out some of Charda’s hair in the process. It was a dehumanizing act of humiliation.
On May 19, 2013, in the LaSalle County, Illinois jail, 32-year-old Dana Holmes was arrested for DUI. Caught on camera are three male officers, and one female officer, dragging Dana into a cell and holding her down while the female officer strips Dana of her pants and the male officers strip her of her upper garments, leaving Dana naked on the floor.
The officers said that Dana was resisting arrest and kicked at them. The video does not support that, and neither does Illinois law. Illinois law provides that the accused held in jail can be stripped searched only when there is reasonable belief there is a concealed weapon or controlled substance on their body. They must be stripped by an officer of the same gender, and the strip cannot be observed by others.
Attorney Terry Ekl has filed a lawsuit in federal district court on behalf of Holmes, alleging that her constitutional rights were violated when she was illegally stripped of her clothes . The sheriff’s office denies that Dana was stripped searched. Attorney Ekl told ABC News, “To say, ‘this was a strip but not a search, we weren’t looking for anything, we just took her clothes off’ is crazy.”
It appears that LaSalle County sheriffs think it is okay to strip a woman naked as long as they do not search her body cavities.
LaSalle County State’s Attorney Brian Towne has accused Ekl of creating a “media circus” and said, “He’s been on every media outlet in the country casting aspersions on these deputies, and he has all the materials. I don’t know how he got them, and these deputies did not commit a crime.”
Ekl asked for the appointment of a special prosecutor over Brian Towne’s objections. Chief Circuit Court Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. appointed a special prosecutor to look into possible criminal wrongdoing by the four deputies.
Attorney Terry Ekl told ABC News that since his client came public with her fearful and humiliating experience, that five women have called his office with similar allegations, and there could be others. In October 2013, a judge ordered that video recordings that could prove allegations of improper strip searches of women by LaSalle County authorities cannot be destroyed.
No matter what a person does that lands them in jail, they are still human beings with human rights.
Here’s the video of what they did to Dana.